2020 Political Issues PlatformSeptember 30, 2019
Health care is a fundamental right for all. All Americans have a right to equitable, affordable, accessible, culturally-competent, and comprehensive healthcare services in their own communities. Yet more than 30 million individuals lack health coverage altogether, even as millions of others are underinsured and the rapidly escalating costs of health care become increasingly unsustainable. In order to further universal health care coverage and access, and improve the health care delivery system, we support federal law, regulations and reforms that:
• Fully invest in and increase access to insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act as well as the essential Medicaid & Medicare programs while maintaining strong consumer protections.
• Engage the healthcare workforce in the implementation of delivery system reforms. Health care reform works best if there is full investment by the workforce and when new training initiatives reflect a clear analysis of expected workflow changes and critical labor shortages.
• Support the creation of a Medicare-for-all, Medicare buy-in,public option, or other federal programs guaranteeing affordable universal health care for all, while preserving fair reimbursement rates and access to doctors, hospitals, and quality health care services.
America’s economy and democracy are out of balance, with too much power in the hands of corporations, billionaires, and politicians who have rigged the system against working families, expanded economic inequality and worsened the climate crisis. Building a stronger economy starts with family-sustaining jobs and increasing opportunities for workers to join labor unions and bargain for increased wages, better benefits, and improved working conditions. Organized labor plays an essential role in fixing the rigged economy, challenging the corporations that exploit our communities, and in the implementation of broad reforms like those included in the Green New Deal aimed at addressing climate change and economic inequality. We support federal policies and reforms that:
• Ensure that all working people have a real opportunity to join unions across industries and regions to improve working conditions. Federal laws and labor regulations should expand protections against employer retaliation for organizing workers while increasing fines and penalties against businesses that violate federal labor law.
• Offer local and state governments the freedom to innovate and create new ways to support the right of working people to collectively bargain with employers, including through the establishment of local fair wage standards.
• Reduce the power and influence of corporations and other employers using their privileged positions to keep wages low and to fight the reforms needed to create family-sustaining green jobs across the economy.
Strong families and communities are created by good local jobs that pay fair wages, affordable childcare, quality public education and safe affordable housing with access to clean air and water. We all also need paid time off to care for loved ones or ourselves, yet in 2017, only 13 percent of private sector workers had access to paid family leave through their employer. We support federal law, regulations and reforms that:
• Invest in our child care system to give all parents access to affordable care, while ensuring a living wage for all child care workers.
• Provide paid benefits to those who need time away from their jobs for sick leave or to care for a new child or loved one with a serious health condition.
• Strengthen equal pay protections and promote pay transparency, protect workers from retaliation, disclose disaggregated pay data to enforcement officials, prohibit the use of salary history and step up enforcement efforts against discrimination.
• Rebalance federal annual housing investments from subsidizing the nation’s wealthiest households through the mortgage tax deduction and other means, redirecting those funds to the people who need them most.
• Invest in the sustainability of our communities and the protection of our environment in the face of climate change.
• Make college truly affordable, including for working people returning to school part-time, and provide relief from excessive student debt.
We support fair treatment and oppose all forms of discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender, disability, family status, or LGBTQ+ status. As a nation, we must seek to dismantle anti-Black and structural racism and achieve equality for all people. The failure to confront the legacy of slavery and structural racism have divided us against one another. Our next President and the federal government must:
• Build more trust and transparency in our justice system,through the promotion of criminal justice reform that reduces racial disparities, embraces community policing, implements comprehensive sentencing reform, and that demilitarizes local law enforcement.
• Ensure that our nation’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and harm millions – particularly young black and brown people who historically have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
• Compensate black Americans for suffering under slavery and other forms of racial injustice through a Federal reparations program.
Far too many American families struggle to ensure that their aging or disabled loved ones have the long-term services and supports they need. Federal and state governments must work together to find new sources of funding for long-term care, to invest in recruiting, training and retaining workers, and to establish stronger quality care standards. The next president must work to:
• Enact a new Medicare personal care benefit that includes strong provider qualification standards.
• Rescind the 2019 CMS rule which bans home care workers and other Medicare providers from designating third-party contributions from their Medicaid payments.
• Increase federal funding for long-term care worker training provided by labor-management funds.
• Establish enforceable minimum staff to resident ratios in nursing homes.
Immigrants and their families should be welcome, safe, and free in the United States. First-generation immigrant workers and their children are powerful leaders in our union. Across the country, immigrants are integral to the health care and other service workforces. We must fix our broken immigration system, including providing a path to citizenship to the eleven million people who contribute so much to our country, despite their lack of legal status. We must end the draconian and inhuman practices of the Trump Administration, including ending policies that violate the rights of refugees to seek asylum, separate children from their families, and deny healthcare and housing to those in need. We strongly support federal policy reform to:
• Focus immigration enforcement on keeping our communities safe, not tearing families apart, and devote resources to clearing the backlog of immigration and asylum applications.
• Make crossing the border without permission a civil violation and not a federal crime.
• Expand opportunities for permanent legal immigration, including for refugees and asylum seekers, in order to address labor shortages in key industries, including health care, while also ensuring strong enforcement of labor laws.
• Ensure that our foreign policy, including the provision of foreign aid, helps address the root causes of violence and economic deprivation that force people to flee and seek asylum.